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Random notes on early adopters

A couple weeks back, I had a conversation with my friends about consumer early adopters and was wondering how to define them. Although they’re described with some detail in "Crossing the Chasm," that group seemed to be more B2B focused rather than consumer-oriented.

Anyway, we discussed a couple different variations of this, and came to a couple interesting conclusions. Pretty obvious, in retrospect, but still interesting to formalize.

Characteristics of Andrew as an early adopter of technology/websites:
    Like to read about new things
    Like to try out new things for pleasure
    Am confident in my ability to spot the importance of new trends and products
    Develops an awareness of all possible options and how they relate to each other
        How else would you know whether one thing is better than the other?
    Takes pride in the expertise of random subjects, and have interest in offering opinions
    May be a manifestation of competitiveness in out-knowing other people in random areas
    Similar to the snobbery of people that have indie/obscure movie or music expertise

Characteristics of John as an early adopter of media:
    Being careful to spot problems and on the lookout to solve them (not actively looking, but passively absorb)
    Saw Firefly ads, taped the TV show, then if writing/characters are good, then develop the motivation to know everything about the show
        Then follow the creator of the show
        Sometimes, try out new shows and then won’t follow it if it sucks (like Enterprise, etc.)
    Found Veronica Mars through TelevisionWithoutPity (recaps of TV shows), and the reviews seemed to be good, then developed a stronger motivation
    Goal-oriented TV watching, unlikely to randomly find shows
    With sci-fi books, read the books that known authors have read
        Or, read books that the known good authors like
    Randomly look at sci-fi books at Barnes & Noble, then grab a book based on the cover
        Motivated to do this so that there’s something to read – if there is a book queue, then not necessary to randomly look for books
    Is influenced by secondary reviewers and other sources

Characteristics of Craig as an early adopter of gadgets:
    Hear about new devices then research new features, reasons to buy it, etc.
        Hear about e-mail, newsletter from a carrier, word of mouth
        Then search online to get more information
        Then go to a store and ask about the device
    For new features, just looking for differences, nothing specific – know about things he doesn’t care about
    Gets bored with current gadget, and then starts looking for new things
    When the product sucks, then he gets annoyed – or when a trial goes bad, he feels bad, then move on
    Short attention spans with phones
    Likes to show gadgets to friends and "trend set" with friends – whether or not it’s bad or good
        Talk to friends about it because it might benefit them to know certain things
        Will have different levels of discussion depending on the audience
        Because he has the expertise related to the product, he can influence and offer personal experience
    "Show my friends that I’m a baller" – maybe a status thing, or show of importance
    Have to possess things that other people don’t have – now that Blackberries are common, need to get the newer Blackberry

Common characteristics?
    Always on "browse" mode, keeping the mind open for new good things
    Short attention span when browsing for new things, going for volume
    Low cost for "failure" – willing to try out new things
    Able to form an opinion or judgement about the product independently of other people
    Once you’ve find something good, continue push on that button to find additional good results

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